It’s wonderful to have a mature mango tree in full fruit on your property. In fact, nothing says ‘summer’ quite like it. Mangoes are a large, beautiful tree to have in any backyard, and they have a multitude of benefits. Aside from the free fruit, they’re strong enough to support childrens swings, fun for kids to climb, a great provider of shade with branches that are easy to prune and compost.
A healthy, big mango tree will be a prolific fruiter; it’s quite common to garner a crop of 3-400 fruit per tree. And that fruit will form all over the tree, making it difficult, if not impossible, to harvest the fruit from the highest branches. Add summer pest pressure like possums, bats and QLD fruit fly to the mix, and your harvest may be significantly reduced.
So why not make your own mango picker? It’s a quick job, and there’s a good chance you’ll have enough materials lying around already. Plus, it’s easy; so easy even I can make one! I’ve made a quick example (as below) from a few bits I had at home, but you’ll likely be able to do a better job as DIY isn’t exactly my forte…just take the idea and run with it.
First, take a large milk or juice bottle, or a container of a similar shape. Cut as above. The stronger the plastic, the better. Key to success of this implement is the shape of the cut. You need a ‘slot’ shape across the top surface which you can slide the stem of the mango into, and a receptacle large enough for a mango to slide into yet be contained.
I reinforced mine with gaffer tape for extra strength. I know that unripe mangoes can be a bit difficult to pull off the tree and I didn’t want to have my container broken as soon as I started using it.
Next, find something that you can use as a pole- you might have a thick stake, a broom handle, or similar. Make sure it is as long as your mangoes are high, or you won’t be able to reach them all. I’ve used part of an old beach umbrella, which already had a large hole at one end. I made a hole near the original opening of the milk bottle, lined the holes up, then pushed a dowel through both. Further reinforcement with gaffer tape was required, naturally!
Now your mango picker is ready to use! Don’t forget to store it in a dry place, out of the sun, when not in use. Once you’ve harvested you may well be awash with mangoes, so don’t forget to check out our recipes for mango chutney and green mango salad. These both feature unripe green mangoes, so you’ll be able to use a few before they’re even ripe.
Happy mango season!